Big City have possibly delivered their best album yet. I kid you not.
Written by: gdmonline
ARTIST: Big City
ALBUM: Sunwind Sails
LABEL: Frontiers SRL
SERIAL: FRCD 1285
CD INFO: Discogs Info
COUNTRY OF ORIGIN: Norway
LINEUP: Jorgen Bergersen – vocals * Daniel Olaisen – guitars * Frank Orland – guitars * Miguel Pereira – bass * Frank Nordeng Roe – drums
TRACK LISTING: 01 I’m Somebody * 02 Sons Of Desire * 03 Human Mind * 04 Collin’s Looking For A Hideout * 05 Diamond In The Rough * 06 Now * 07 After The Raid * 08 Sunwind Sails * 09 Silver Line * 10 Sparks Of Eternity
I’ve been off the grid in relation to Norwegian band Big City. We’ve written an article about them previously, which was 2018’s ‘Big City Life’. They were previously on Rock Of Angels Records (aka ROAR) for that one, plus a small (I will assume Norwegian) label Skar Productions for their 2014 debut ‘Wintersleep’. While GDM was winding down during 2021, Big City moved to Frontiers SRL and released ‘Testify X’ for which I was completely oblivious. Not so this time as the striking cover art for ‘Sunward Sails’ immediately caught my eye as it came across my desk.
So here we are addressing this album. Let’s iron out some connections first. Singer Jorgen Bergersen first hooked on with Big City prior to ‘Testify X’ and came from the Europe cover band Rock The Night, while further links go back to other high profile Norwegian bands including Circus Maximus and Withem.
As for the music on ‘Sunwind Sails’, I believe that GDM regulars will enjoy this, particularly the voice of Bergersen, who sings with power and clarity and doesn’t overplay his hand like other Scandi vocalists do. Big City are reinforced by dual guitars and a bottom heavy rhythm section which gives album the extra beef to carry off their songs. First comparison would be to a band like Arctic Rain who also delve in this style in a similar way, and incidentally, have their new 2023 album ‘Unity’ released a week after this.
‘I’m Somebody’ after a brief introduction loads up like a high intensity battering ram. The chorus is very good too, the solos are off the scale, Big City make a sensational start. ‘Sons Of Desire’ is a racier number, the riffing and drum work in tight tandem. The clarity and separation of the vocals in relation to the instrumentation is impressive, telling me that the mix is near perfect, as you can hear on ‘Human Desire’.
I love the grinding guitar work on ‘Collin’s Looking For A Hideout’, the song itself is about a pirate I think though I wasn’t able to confirm this. There is a lyric video for ‘Diamond In The Rough’. The song features more keyboards than what we’ve heard previously which came as a surprise. Big City take the commercial path with ‘Now’ though it still packs a punch and not likely to make the top 40. Lol.
The band turn on the afterburners on ‘After The Raid’ which sees comparisons to fellow Norwegians Pagans Mind, especially the rampant double bass drum work and guitar styling. The title track ‘Sunwind Sails’ features some prominent tub thumping bass work, the lyrical theme suggests a sci-fi angle as per the record cover but you wouldn’t pick it at first glance.
‘Silver Line’ changes tempo throughout, acoustic passages are included, but it’s still at the heavier end if the spectrum. Check out the widdly guitar soloing for proof. The album closer ‘Sparks Of Eternity’ might suggest a ballad, but thankfully this is only fleeting as the song fires off its last booster rocket to ensure that ‘there are no ballads here’ strategy is maintained throughout.
As mentioned, ‘Sunwind Sails’ is sonically excellent, so it’s always good to hear an album of this quality among the heavier realms of music. From where I stand, Big City have possibly delivered their best album yet. If melodic hard rock with vast servings of metal is your thing then check these guys out.
Diamond In The Rough